Wouldn’t it be wonderful if rather than just treating ourselves when we get sick, we could avoid getting sick in the first place? While this may not be possible all of the time, it’s clear that leading a healthier lifestyle can greatly impact our chances of staying well – and that’s something that a new partnership is keen to put the emphasis on.
London-based start-up Vala Health has teamed up with Watford’s Smart Cover Insurance in a move that will see the latter offer health plans and immediate GP cover to its policyholders.
“What we’ve seen this year with COVID, is that most people in the UK live in a ‘health cover vacuum’ where there is just a handful of expensive health insurance options that cost more than they can afford. It means many forego coverage altogether,” explained Pete Trainor, CEO of Vala. “When we first met with the Smart-Cover leadership in the summer it became clear straight-away that they were aiming to offer health-support to the biggest possible audience, at a price that isn’t ridiculous, and for the communities who need it the most.”
Policyholders will gain access to Vala’s medical network for wraparound coverage – but the emphasis is very much on staying well, rather than just being treated after the fact.
“Firstly, we make it ridiculously simple to get a GP appointment on our telemedicine platform,” added Trainor. “There are no apps to download or complicated processes, you book then and there, and you’ll speak to a qualified and regulated, UK-based professional over video or the phone. Secondly, we don’t limit our appointments to a short-time-frame, or cap the number of appointments someone can have with us during the month. It’s unlimited. We want people to talk openly about their health concerns, and our team will do more than just whizz you through in 10 minutes and prescribe a pill like the other e-doctor platforms. Finally, and this is the one we’re most focused on, we want to help people manage their lifestyle choices and keep them well, rather than fix them when they’re sick.”
As an added bonus, Smart Cover is launching an insurtech home emergency app to extend the insured benefit to motor and health.
“We are heavily investing in technology which will make the quality GP consultation more affordable and accessible to the masses and we found Vala is the right partner for us as our customer-centric business values are aligned,” said Smart Cover CEO Niraz Buhari. “Too many parts of the UK face a doctor shortage and limited access to medical care. Our affordable, virtual health plan provides easy and free access to a Vala doctor to help people make better medical decisions about their overall health in addition to access to specialists and treatments. It’s what healthcare should be.”